Event Management Software - Is Online Event Booking The Wave of the Future?
As a previous Director of Catering, the thought of a bride booking her wedding completely online would have terrified me. Times have changed. More and more event customers are looking for ways to get information and complete tasks without necessarily engaging with a salesperson.
Online booking for corporate event planners is definitely the wave of the future. Venues will have to embrace some form of automation in order to stay competitive. It’s important for hotel spaces and other venues that host wedding events to work with technology-forward partners to support online booking functionality that is both beneficial and efficient for guests and group sales managers.
What should an online event booking experience be like for prospects? Let’s take a look at a few important characteristics of what an event management software solution that supports online event booking should do for your prospects and for your organization.
Easy to check availability
A current catering and event management software solutions should be configurable to automate the search process for checking availability for new events. Functions should then be defined by their typical duration, desired booking periods, and ideal locations. Then when the user checks availability on the displayed calendar, they will easily see a list of available slots.
This feature is really helpful for venues with a lot of locations. It eliminates the need to scroll through the entire “day view” of the calendar to check availability manually.
Detailed and coherent event packages
What if the Catering Sales Manager or Event Coordinator wants to book an event with multiple functions? Software functionality must account for this scenario as well in the form of event packages. In this case, a package can be created that contains the configuration for multiple functions.
For instance, a birthday party at a bowling entertainment center might include the functions of the party room, bowling, and laser tag. The package can define the typical duration of each function, their order, availability windows and desired locations. Then when the user explores the “event packages” option from the events calendar page, the solution will list all available slots for the entire itinerary.
Straightforward menu selection
Menus for food and beverage, rental items, and other services should also be added to event packages in a straightforward way. In the case of the birthday party described above, not only should the searching for an available date and booking that date be automated; menus and services for the party should also be presented coherently and easily selected.
The pricing associated with these items will need to be included so that all financials can then be calculated including taxes and service fees. This way, customers can receive a contract or proposal immediately, and managers can generate a BEO within minutes.
Empowered staff and prospects
Event packages can be made available to a venue’s customers from their website, so they can check availability and book on their own. This also lends flexibility to staff, and lets them concentrate on other things that contribute to the business more significantly.
Since this is the desired functionality being demanded by customers, venues that offer it are reaping the benefits of booking more business. The flexibility a cloud-based solution allows venues to determine the level of engagement for both their managers and their customers.
Expanding online event booking capacity
Online event booking is the wave of the future. We’re poised to help our customers take advantage of this trend.
On the developing and partnering front here at Infor, our Sales and Catering solution’s online booking capacity is expanding in the coming year with partnering businesses. We’ll bring event bookers and venue managers together to plan great events, letting event locations market their space, receive qualified leads, and grow their business. This integration gives the event booker a full-service experience, allowing them to find their desired event location and potentially can allow them to book the space, receive a proposal, BEO or invoice and be on their way.
If you’d like to learn more about Infor Sales and Catering and how we’re helping hospitality and event planning sectors succeed, visit our Infor Sales & Catering page right here.